TMG News

A Publication for users of The Master Genealogist®

Vol. 3, No. 2,  Summer 1997

Editor: Lissa Soergel
HTML Design: Laura Wallace



Federation of Genealogical Societies Dallas, Texas September 3-6, 1997
GENTECH Conference Fort Wayne, Indiana January 23-24, 1998
National Genealogical Society Conference Denver, Colorado May 6-9, 1997

News Update

While it has been some time since the last TMG News (Vol 3, No 1, Spring, 1996), we've been busy with the major release of The Master Genealogist for Windows! TMG v3.0 for Windows has been shipping for about two months and has received an enthusiastic response and critical acclaim from industry experts and users alike. (Upgrade information can be found elsewhere in this issue). As always, this issue of TMG News is packed with helpful hints and insightful articles from other users and the technical support staff to help you make the best use of TMG. Except where noted, the information and suggestions apply to TMG/DOS as well as TMG/Win.

TMG Information Sources

Our web page ( and the Compuserve support forum (GO GENSUP, Sec 2) are greatly expanded to include the latest TMG news, feature lists, reviews, company/calendar information, and links to other TMG users. Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page answers many questions that may be on your mind; the Known Problems page lists some known issues with TMG/Win along with workarounds and downloadable fixes; and the Files page offers additional margin settings and other downloadable modules for TMG/Win. It is worth a visit!

New import modules

Among other exciting enhancements that can be found online (and now shipping with TMG/Win) are new import modules with which researchers can avoid the problems of GEDCOM and import data directly to TMG/Win from Visual Roots, Family Gathering, Roots IV, Roots V, and Ultimate Family Tree from COMMSOFT, Inc., and/or Palladium Interactive, Inc. In addition, direct import will shortly be available for users of Family Roots from Quinsept, Inc., and other programs (watch our web page for announcements). TMG/Win has long supported direct import from PAF (LDS Church), Roots III (COMMSOFT, Inc.), Brother's Keeper (John Steed), GEDCOM 4.0 and GEDCOM 5.5, giving it by far the most comprehensive import features of any program on the market.

Bad news & good news for Macintosh users

We regret that recent developments have left us with the painful but inescapable conclusion that the dwindling Macintosh market does not justify our longstanding development effort on that platform. Wholly Genes' development of a Macintosh product has undergone fits and starts over the past few years, including more than one total redesign at the hands of advance reviewers. With the recent release of several capable products in that market to lukewarm reviews and disappointing sales, the effort to move The Master Genealogist to the Macintosh platform has been set aside for the foreseeable future. While this decision will be a disappointment to some, the redirection of these resources leaves us in a much better position to support and enhance our DOS and Windows products, which have a substantial user base and enjoy an ever-increasing demand. While we sympathize with the few dozen users who have expressed an interest in a Macintosh version of TMG, it is worth noting that many more users are already happily using TMG on a Mac through the use of a PC compatibility card (from Orange PC or Apple) or emulation software (SoftWindows or Virtual PC). We hope that these prove to be viable alternatives to other Mac users and we would be happy to help those users get in touch with the appropriate vendors.

Branching Out

Since the last newsletter, the Wholly Genes family tree has sprouted a number of new branches:

Tim Shaw [] is our office manager and dealer coordinator.   Liz Britton [] and Christine Brown [] have added their considerable talents to the technical support team. (Dan Fairchild pitched in during the critical period after the release of v3.0, but he has now returned to graduate school.)

Honor among genealogists

Shortly after we began shipping the TMG/Win v3.0 updates, we were notified by our distributor that the first few hundred shipments included 32 which had not been properly logged out, resulting in duplicate packages to those unidentifiable users. We sent a postcard to those first few hundred users, notifying them of the distributor's error and requesting that any duplicate package be returned to us at our shipping expense. To date, 29 of the 32 duplicate packages have been returned to us! Many of those users included a note expressing appreciation for the free v3.0 update and a desire to help control our expenses. Some even insisted on paying the return postage! While this remarkable response might surprise other vendors, we are frequently reminded of the ongoing support of TMG users, and we deeply appreciate your generous cooperation.

Newsletter Subscribers

The text of this newsletter can be downloaded free from various online services. Those who have ordered hard copy subscriptions have not been forgotten, however. Your subscription has been extended appropriately and we will try to issue them on a more regular basis now.

Snail-mail alert

Effective 1 July 1997, our formerly-suburban home town of Elk Ridge, Maryland (also known by some non-historians in City Hall as "Elkridge") has a new zip code. It is 21075.

Return to Table of Contents.

 Suggestions for New Users

Recording Sources

by George W. King
Williamsburg, Virginia

One of the powerful features of TMG that sets it apart from other family history programs is TMG's facility to record and report sources for each event in a TMG data set. Many new users of TMG don't understand the importance of citing sources, probably because most other family history programsprovide only a primitive capability to cite and report sources.

After you have entered some information into TMG, you will want to prepare a report such as a Family Group Sheet, Descendancy Chart, Descendancy Narrative, etc., for friends and relatives. You will want to include your sources so that your friends and relatives can search these same sources for other ancestors.

A complete reference to a source has two parts: the Source Definition/Entry Screen, accessible from the Master Source List, contains all general information about the source. The Citation Window on a Tag Entry Screen points to the source and identifies more specifically (e.g., by page numbers) the location of the current information in the source.

The source, Citation Detail, and surety fields describe information ABOUT a source. As a rule of thumb, I try to create a source and a Citation Detail that any reasonably competent researcher could use to find a copy of my source. Nothing more!!

For the source:

In the bibliography section for the source, I add qualifiers about how to use the source, the reliability of the source, etc.

For the Citation Detail:

For surety - the TMG Reference Manual has some excellent rules of thumb for beginners for evaluating records. If in doubt, assign a lower surety.

HINT: After you have entered a few records, use the TMG CRW to prepare a Descendancy Chart or Descendancy Narrative. I have a Descendancy Narrative format in CRW that I use frequently for this purpose. This exercise will help you to learn how to prepare these reports, as well as how to enter information into TMG.

Choose the following options on the Report Definition:

I send this report to my computer screen. A one-generation report displays in a few seconds.

The date, location, memo, and witness fields record information CONTAINED IN the source. Your Descendancy Narrative will also show you how to record entries in the memo field so that you get meaningful sentences from your memo information. When you become an advanced TMG user, you may want to change some sentence structures in TMG. As a beginner, use the sentence structures provided by TMG.

Please try this exercise before you commit a lot of information to a TMG data set.

Remember: put information ABOUT a source in the Source Definition and in the Citation Detail and surety fields of the Citation Window on the Tag Entry Screen. Put information CONTAINED IN the source in the date, location, and memo fields and the Witness Window of the Tag Entry Screen itself.

(See also later in this issue suggestions from Tony Servies.)

Return to Table of Contents.

Questions and Answers

Data Entry 

Linking vs. adding

Q: I'm trying to link a person to his son, who is already in the data set. When I choose "link to ...etc", it tells me the person with that ID# is a male. I used the Person Add button and chose "Add Son."

A: The Person Add menu should be used only to add a new person to the data set with the relationship that you choose. Probably, when you started with the father and chose Add Son, the program asked who the mother was (always read the current window frame title at the top) and offered to let you choose from the Picklist. After you selected that option and looked up the son and selected him, it warned you that he was a male (couldn't be mother of new son) and TMG terminated the process.

If you want to link a father and son in the data set by starting with the father, you might try Add Tag (F4) and select "Son-Nat." You will have the option of linking the son by his ID number or selecting him from the Picklist. Then save the tag (F10) and the link will be created.

Another way is to start with the son's Person View, and select the primary father field below the Tag Box. If there is no current father, you will be presented with a list of options, including "Link a Person from the Picklist" and "Link a Person by ID Number."

Missing Tag Types

Q: From the Person View of a parent, I clicked on the "Son-Nat" tag, then highlighted the "Nat" type in order to change it to "Ado." But the dialog box had "Nat" as the only choice and would not accept a new entry.

A: A tag must be active before it can appear as an option in the tag dialog box. If you have inactivated tags in order to make the list more manageable, you must activate them again before you can use them. From the Tag Types List, press F9 for the expanded list, highlight the tag and press F5 to edit the Tag Type Definition. Change the designation from Inactive to Active and press F10 to save the change.

Tag Groups

Q: Why is the burial tag not a death event?

A: Many academic report formats call for a primary death and a primary burial event (if known); therefore, we added a Burial Group so that you can have a primary tag for each of these events.

If you prefer, however, you can change that default label to something else (e.g., "BurialOld") and inactivate it and then create a custom tag type called "Burial" which you place in the Death Group. Then you'll have what you want-but you lose the ability to have a primary tag for each.

Q: Entering a burial tag does not change living to 'N' or calculate age at death; however a baptism tag (if primary) is used to calculate ages for subsequent events, even though baptism can take place years after birth, whereas one would expect burial to happen very shortly after death. Is it possible to change this?

A: By default, Baptism is in the Birth Group so that its date is used as an estimate of birth when the latter is not known. If you don't like this behavior, then (as above) you can rename/disable it and create a custom tag called "Baptism," which you place in the Other Group. Some people prefer to retain Baptism (Birth group) and create a custom tag called Bapt-Adult (Other group) or some such thing ... so you deal with individual baptisms in either way.

NOTE: As another example of changing tag groups, TMG user Paul Harris has suggested that the Residence tag be part of the Address Group, rather than (as now) part of the Other Group. This can be accomplished by renaming the Residence tag, then creating a new Residence tag in the Address Group, copying the information from the old to the new tag, then deleting the old tag. This will allow an easy conversion when people move, as you can simply change "Address" to "Residence," then make a new Address tag for the new address.

Identifying Family Groups

Q: How can I group families within a data set? I toyed with the idea of creating a FAMILY tag within the Name Group but eventually plumped for using the Reference field; however, this is a little short so I have used it for the subsub family name, whereas I would have liked to have had both family names in it. Is there a better way of doing this? I don't really want to split my data set up just be able to break the families down within it.

A: You may find that a FAMILY flag is a better solution. Although it is limited to one-letter codes, you can write to it globally from the CRW, based on relationships which you specify.

But this may not be necessary at all. If you want to do a GEDCOM export of the SEAFORD family only, then you can set the filter to:

ID Number Equals <pg> OR Is an Ancestor of Person # <pg> END

where <pg> is the ID Number of your paternal grandmother.

If you want all of the siblings, aunts, and uncles too, then add at the bottom:

[X] Descendants _1_ generation

If you use the "[?]" variable, then you can make generic reports that prompt you to fill in the blanks each time you run them. For example:

ID Number Equals [?] OR Is an Ancestor of Person # [?] END

If you want spouses of descendants, parents of those spouses, etc., then it may take you more than one such filter run consecutively and output to a custom flag...but unless you perform this sort of function on an hourly basis, you'd probably find that easier than maintaining a FAMILY tag/flag, or using the Reference field.

See Filters under Custom Report Writer - Report Definition - Focus Tab for other examples of filters.

Return to Table of Contents.


Multiple citation

Q: How can I add the same citation to a large group of people?

A: There is no way to mass produce a citation for a subset of your data. If there is one event or piece of data that applies to lots of people then you can create one tag, many witnesses, and one copy of the citation.

The Advanced Options feature does allow you to apply a new citation to everyone and everything in a data set-all names, relationships, and events. (A GEDCOM import option does something similar.) The typical use is after you've received a data set from another researcher if you want to merge it into your own while keeping track of its origin.

So you could extract the group of people you're after and put them in a new TMG data set (call it "A" here), using a List of People report. Then extract everyone else to another new set ("B"). Then use "A" and run the advanced utility to cite everything. Then merge "A" back into "B" and create a new master.

If the "A" subset is distinct and unconnected (or only connected in one or two places), then this should work well. If the "A" subset is scattered throughout your data set, then it could be a lot of work to reconstruct all the links after the merge.

Return to Table of Contents.

Data Sets and Timelines

MODEL Data Set

Q: How can I transfer all my custom tags and flags, etc., to a new data set?


1. Use your data set with the settings you want to preserve.

2. Access the CRW and create a List of People report filtered for one person, and export that to a new data set. That is:

  • press F4
  • select List of People
  • give the report a name, like "Make MODEL data set"
  • the focus should be set to "Filtered Group."
  • choose <Define> and specify a filter of "ID Number Equals x", where x is a person with little or no data. Make sure that all check boxes at the bottom of the filter screen are turned off.


  • press F10 to save the filter
  • press F10 to save the report definition

3. Run the new report. On the Job Manager, select "Create New Data Set." When you are asked for the name of the new data set, enter "MODEL".

In TMG/Win:

  • On the Secondary Output tab, select "Create New Data Set."

3. Press [Generate] to save the Report Definition and produce the new data set. Call it "MODEL."

For TMG/DOS and TMG/Win:

4. Use the MODEL data set, and delete any events or sources that might have exported. Change the name of the subject to "Start Here" and renumber him to #1 if necessary by choosing Person->Renumber.

5. Thereafter, any time you want to create a new data set, just select MODEL and copy it (File->Data Set->Copy) to a new name. That way, MODEL will always be available as a template. If you make a change to the master, you can rerun the "Make MODEL data set" report to reset the template.

Importing PAF Notes

Q: I want to import my PAF data set into TMG. I have always used the notes editor wihin PAF and I tagged my notes !BIRTH, !OCCUPATION, !RESIDENCE, etc.) for various searches I would run from time to time.

A: To this extent, TMG should read the notes just fine. And it will understand BIRTH-SOURCE, etc., as well.

Where TMG will have trouble is on compound event tags (e.g, "BIRTH- DEATH"). In that case, it will just import that whole thing as a NOTE, and the user must sort out the details if/when she chooses.

It is prudent to audit carefully for any signs of trouble before deleting the PAF data. Of course, you should backup the PAF data in its original form in any event.


Q: I downloaded a new timeline and copied the unzipped files to my TIMELINE directory. Then I started TMG and tried to select the new database. TMG just reloads the previous database. Can you help me use this timeline?

A: A timeline works in concert with a TMG data set, but it is not a data set itself. That is, it overlays on your data if you have people who lived during the period covered by the timeline.

Access the File menu and choose Timelines->Globally Selected. That will give you a list of timelines in the TIMELINE directory. Mark any you want with F8 and save the list with F10.

When you return to the Person View, press <Ctrl>+\ (or choose File -> Timelines -> Feature On) to make sure that timelines are on. Then you should see timeline events in the Tag Box. If you do not, then check to make sure that the current person has a primary birth or death date (so TMG can relate him/her to the timeline) and that such dates are within the range covered by the timeline. You can scan the timeline by selecting File -> Timelines -> Edit.

Other Issues

Moving TMG

Q: I want to move TMG from my E: drive to my D: drive. Will this present any problems?

A: Not if you move it in its entirety - including subdirectories.

If you run TMG/DOS from Windows, then you'll need to change the PIF file to point to the new drive.

Photos Q: I have recently purchased a flatbed scanner. I plan to store photos in TMG, and I have a lot of them. Which of the various image formats works best in TMG? What is the ideal "image size" to store in TMG? Most appropriate file size? For B&W? For color?

A: The results will largely be a function of your graphics card and monitor. You'll get better results if it supports VESA, for instance (as all those made in the last few years do), and high resolutions.

The biggest difference between the formats (color depth, dimensions, etc., being equal) seems to be the file size. PCX is supported by everything, so that's usually a reasonable default. Other advice has less to do with TMG and more to do with scanning in general. Don't take on the overhead of a color image unless the colors will make a difference. Documents, signatures, etc., will usually do well in black and white or grayscale. High resolution scans may not improve the readability of a document but will improve the quality of a photograph dramatically. And if you don't need an image of the original and you have good OCR software, it will take less disk space to convert a document to text and import that as a literal exhibit.

Lastly, understand the difference between importingembedding and external/linking exhibits. The former will make a copy of the image, and that copy will travel with the data set wherever it goes, slow down backups, etc. The latter will keep only one copy on disk and allow pointing from several different records (perhaps at different zoom levels, etc.), but you'll need to make your own arrangements to back them up and transport them between systems.

CRW - Filters

Q: When I try the following setup for my Descendancy Report, I get only about five persons instead of 253, none of whom is the ID person! What am I doing wrong?

Focus: Filtered Group
ID Number Equals 1687 OR
is a descendant of Person # 1687
and add their Spouses
(Tried with and without Descendants checked)

A: The Descendancy Narrative report will produce one complete descendancy for EACH person who is identified in the filter. Therefore, a typical descendancy report doesn't invoke a filter at all; it merely points to the individual with whom the report should start. The "Is a Descendant of..." part is calculated automatically by TMG because, well, that's what a descendancy report is.

If you specify a filtered group to be the focus of the report then TMG will take the first one (out of 253 in your case) and produce a complete descendancy for him/her (consisting of 5 people in your example). Then it will take the second of 253 and produce a complete descendancy for him/her, and so on.

That's clearly not what you intended. If you <PgDn> on the report that you produced, I think you'll find lots of little descendancies-253 descendancies to be exact-and, of course, there is a lot of overlap because of the way you selected the 253.

So you should just set the focus to an ID number (or Prompt When Generated). A filter of "ID Number Equals 1687" would be functionally equivalent, but be sure that all of the "And their..." check boxes at the bottom of the filter are turned OFF.

Return to Table of Contents.

Be sure to visit our web page at
for the latest news, updates, user's groups information, sample HTML output, .... and more!

 TMG Online

Using the <Previous> & <Next> Picklist Options
(Discussion preserved by Jim Byram)

The following discussion took place on the Genealogy Support (GENSUP) forum of Compuserve after the question was asked, "What use are the arrow icons on the Person View of TMG/Win?"

[Editor's Note - Ctrl+PgUp and Ctrl+-PgDn perform the same functions in TMG/DOS.]

Cliff Watts:

Earlier in the day, I noted that I sometimes do a Picklist check before doing a Person ->Add Wife sequence. When the Picklist lands on a string of folks named Sarah Davis, the easiest way I can examine the Person View data for each Sarah is with those arrows.

Lissa Soergel:

You can generate a temporary Picklist, either by using the Filter option on the Picklist itself or, in the Custom Report Writer, by defining a set of criteria to isolate a certain group of people and directing the result to the Picklist. Then you might have a reason for viewing and/or editing the records of each of these people in turn. It would slow things down if you had to return to the Picklist each time to select the next person's record.

Julie Kidd:

I have written a report to pull out all the men who had to register for the World War I draft. I can then overwrite the Picklist, scroll through the list of totally unrelated people, and look up the record for each man. I can do the same if, for example, I'm checking the marriage records for Kentucky between 1800 and 1850. The list is of unrelated people, spread throughout my database, but the ability to arrow through from person to person saves an immense amount of time in the library.

Bob Velke:

It is a deliberate feature which can be used to great advantage (regardless of platform) if one understands its abilities.

The left and right arrows go from one Person View to the next according to the current order of the Picklist. <Previous> and <Next> buttons are not uncommon in Windows programs, of course, and that is what they do.

While it has been said that you can use the CRW to filter the Picklist based on a complicated set of criteria and pan from one qualifying candidate to the next, this is only one use of the feature. I've got at least 14 people named "Rees Tate Bowen" in my line and - without any special filtering or sorting - this feature will let me go from one to the next with a single click until I find the one that I'm after. With each click I see EVERYTHING about each person.

(While this feature also works on the Family and Tree View, I use it most often on the Person View).

I might also sort the Picklist by birth date and then pan through the Person Views for a particular group in birth date order. Likewise by ID number order or by given name order, etc.

If I have evidence that "Aunt Lizzy visited yesterday," I could filter the Picklist for people named Lizzie (or people who have any name element that SOUNDS like Lizzie), sort them by birth/death date, and pan through them one at a time until I find one that might "fit." All of this without entering the Custom Report Writer (CRW).

Using flag values, I could do even more powerful things - like filter the Picklist for my male ancestors who had more than three children and were alive in 1864. And then move among them one Person View at a time.

When you're looking for a specific person among many with similar characteristics, the name, ID, birth and death dates are sometimes just not enough. Even with the addition of reference number and father/mother on the Picklist (in v2.1), you still need to see the big picture.

That's what moving to <Previous> and <Next> Person Views with the arrow icons will let you do.

Return to Table of Contents.


In TMG News, vol. 2, no. 4, and vol. 3, no. 1 (Winter 1995/Spring 1996), "Recording Census Data", p. 7, the following appears: "First, insert two hyphens (-) in front of the default sentence in the first line labeled "Sentence." This is in error. It is not necessary to exclude the sentence from printing, since it would print only if the principal (in this case, the census being recorded as a person) were the subject of the report, and ordinarily, that would not be the case. Inserting the hyphens has the effect of suppressing the witness sentences also - an undesirable result. Please ignore that advice.

Upgrades to TMG/Win v3.0 from TMG/DOS - $30 plus shipping from TMG/Win v2.x - free with registration.

Call 1-800-982-2103

Further Suggestions for New Users

by Tony Servies Greenback

1) Make your first source something like "Personal Knowledge" or "Common Knowledge." I use this for relationships that I probably won't document via birth certificates or census records. For example, since I know my sister's full name and date of birth, my parents names, etc., there is no need to document them with birth certificates, etc. However, use this very sparingly. I would suggest that you only use it for your immediate family. For anything outside of your own actual knowledge, you should use reference material.

[Editor's Note: Many researchers will prefer to document all information if possible.]

2) Thoroughly document every resource that you use. I can't warn you enough that this will come back and haunt you at some time in the future. Learn to examine the bibliography formats when you add a source. Make sure you include the author's name and the repository where the information is kept. 3) Consider creating a "weighting" factor to determine the amount of research that you want to do on each ancestor. For example, I want to get every detail that I can find on my direct ancestors - I give them a 3. Their children (who are not in my immediate line of descent) plus any spouses who are not my ancestors (such as second marriages) get a 2. The children and spouses of these get a 1 and all others get a 0.* I try to get full information on 3's, lesser information on 2's, and primary information such as births, marriages and deaths for the people ranked with 1's. For the people ranked with a zero, I am only concerned with their name and any information that connects them to my family, such as an event. I find that this helps me prioritize my research efforts. It is also helpful because sometimes people send you information on your g- g-g-grandpa and every generation on their side of the family tree. You don't want to just throw that information out, but I doubt that you'll have time to thoroughly document your 4th cousin, twice removed.

I hope these ideas don't seem too advanced for a new user. I think you'll find that over time you will need to adapt something similar in order to keep making good progress.

*[Editor's note: A custom flag can be used to record these rankings.]

Return to Table of Contents.

TMG NEWS is an exclusive newsletter for registered users of The Master Genealogist .

Editor: Lissa Soergel


The text of this newsletter can be downloaded free from our BBS or at regular online rates from Compuserve (GO GENSUP) and other electronic services.

Hard copy subscriptions are available by U. S. Mail for $15.00 for four issues per year. Add $5.00 postage for Canada and Mexico; $10.00 for other countries.

This electronic version of TMG News may be distributed freely provided that it is copied in its entirety and distributed only in electronic form.

Contents © 1997 Wholly Genes, Inc. All rights reserved. The Wholly Genes logo, The Master Genealogist, and TMG are trademarks of Wholly Genes, Inc. All other trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.

Return to Table of Contents.

Back to Laura's Main TMG Page.

L.A.W. 19 October 2000